New Puppy Crying at Night

Dec 24, 2023 | Dog Behaviour

A small, fluffy puppy is sleeping peacefully in a soft dog bed. Next to the bed, a concerned dog owner

Understanding Why Your New Puppy Cries at Night

Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting journey filled with joy and challenges. One common challenge that new pet owners face is dealing with their puppy crying at night. This behaviour, while distressing, is a natural part of a puppy’s adaptation to a new environment.

Psychological Factors Behind Nighttime Crying

Puppies, especially in their early weeks, are in a phase of significant developmental and emotional growth. When separated from their mother and littermates, they may feel anxious and insecure, leading to crying as a way to express their discomfort and seek comfort. Factors contributing to nighttime crying can include:

  1. Separation Anxiety: Puppies often experience separation anxiety when away from their familiar environment and companions.
  2. Need for Comfort and Security: A new and unfamiliar environment can be overwhelming, making the puppy feel insecure.
  3. Hunger or Physical Discomfort: Sometimes, crying can be a sign of hunger, thirst, or the need to relieve themselves.

The Role of Consistency and Comfort

Consistency in routine and providing a comforting environment can significantly reduce nighttime crying. This includes:

  • Establishing a regular sleeping schedule.
  • Creating a cozy and secure sleeping area.
  • Ensuring the puppy has had enough food and water before bedtime.

Transitioning to a New Environment

The initial days in a new home are crucial for a puppy. Gradual introduction to their new environment, along with consistent and positive reinforcement, can ease this transition. Engaging in enrichment activities during the day can also help expend their energy, leading to better sleep at night.

New Puppy Crying at Night

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A small, fluffy puppy is awake and barking energetically in a soft dog bed. Next to the bed, a concerned dog owner

Comforting Strategies for a Crying Puppy

When your puppy cries at night, it’s essential to approach the situation with patience and understanding. Here are some effective strategies:

  1. Provide a Comforting Presence: Initially, you might need to stay close to your puppy’s sleeping area to provide reassurance.
  2. Use Comfort Items: Items carrying the scent of their litter or a warm blanket can be soothing.
  3. Gentle Soothing Sounds: Soft music or a ticking clock can mimic the sound of a heartbeat, providing comfort.

Training Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

Adapting your puppy to sleep through the night requires a blend of training, patience, and understanding their needs. Here are some practical steps:

Establishing a Routine

Consistency is key in helping your puppy adjust. Establish a nightly routine that includes:

  • Fixed Bedtime and Wake-up Time: Set specific times for sleep and waking up.
  • Pre-Bedtime Activities: Include calming activities like gentle play or a short walk before bed.

Crate Training

Crate training can be a secure and effective way to teach your puppy to sleep through the night. It provides:

  • A Safe Space: The crate should be a comfortable, inviting space for your puppy.
  • Boundary Setting: It helps your puppy understand where they should sleep.

For detailed guidance on effective crate training, consider reading this article on preventing puppy mouthing.

a playful, energetic dog with its back paws on the ground and front paws raised

Why You Should Never Let Your Puppy Cry It Out at Night

Understanding the emotional and psychological needs of your new puppy is crucial in ensuring their well-being and healthy development. A common misconception, inspired in part by Dr. Richard Ferber’s methods for children, is that letting a puppy “cry it out” at night helps them learn to sleep independently. However, this approach, often referred to as “Ferberizing,” may not be suitable for puppies and can have negative effects.

The Emotional Needs of Puppies

Puppies, especially in their early stages of life, require comfort, security, and reassurance from their owners. Unlike the Ferber method, which is designed for human babies and revolves around teaching self-soothing skills, puppies have different emotional and psychological mechanisms.

They are in a critical socialization period where trust and bonding with their human family are forming. Allowing a puppy to cry it out without responding can lead to increased anxiety, stress, and could potentially harm the bond you are trying to build with your pet.

The Impact of Ignoring a Puppy’s Cries

Ignoring a puppy’s cries at night can have several unintended consequences. Puppies cry for various reasons – they might be scared, hungry, need to go to the toilet, or simply require reassurance. By not responding to these cries, you might be neglecting their basic needs, which can lead to issues like anxiety disorders or problematic behaviours in the future.

Dr. Ferber’s method, while popular in some parenting circles for its effectiveness in establishing independent sleep patterns in children, doesn’t translate well to puppies. They interpret the lack of response as abandonment, which can hinder their ability to form secure attachments and trust their human caregivers.

Product Recommendations for Easing Night-time Crying

There are various products that can help make the transition easier for your new puppy. Some recommended items include:

  1. Comforting Dog Beds: Choose a bed that’s warm and snug, providing a sense of security.
  2. Chew Toys: These can be a great distraction and a soothing option for puppies, especially during teething.
  3. Puppy Calming Products: Items like calming sprays or diffusers can help relax your puppy.

For a comprehensive list of helpful products, visit the page on the best dog training products.

Additional Resources for Comprehensive Dog Care

To further assist in your journey with your new puppy, exploring additional resources can be invaluable. These include:

  1. Training Guides for Lead Walking: Learn how to train your dog to walk on a lead here.
  2. Managing Reactive Dogs: If your puppy shows signs of reactivity, find help here.
  3. Understanding Trigger Stacking: Learn about trigger stacking in dogs and how it affects behaviour here.
  4. Addressing Separation Anxiety: For puppies prone to separation anxiety, valuable insights can be found here.
Visual representation showing the breakdown of common behavioural issues

Wrapping Up: Patience and Consistency are Key

Bringing a new puppy into your home is a journey filled with learning and bonding experiences. Understanding and addressing the reasons behind a puppy crying at night is a crucial step in building a strong, lifelong bond with your pet. Remember, patience and consistency are vital in helping your puppy adapt to their new home and sleeping routine.

Regular training, coupled with the right tools and techniques, can significantly ease the transition period for both you and your puppy. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, along with utilizing the recommended products and resources, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted pet.

Remember, every puppy is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to remain adaptable and responsive to your puppy’s individual needs and behaviours. If you find yourself needing more support, consider reaching out to a professional dog behaviourist for personalized advice and guidance.


Why is my new puppy crying at night?

New puppies often cry at night due to separation anxiety, unfamiliarity with their new environment, or basic needs like hunger or needing to go to the toilet. It’s a natural response as they adjust to being away from their mother and littermates.

Do you let a new puppy cry at night?

While it’s important to respond to your puppy’s needs, it’s also crucial to teach them to sleep through the night. Comfort them initially, but gradually let them learn that night-time is for sleeping, not for attention.

How long do new puppies cry at night typically?

The duration varies depending on the puppy and their adjustment. Typically, this behaviour can last for a few days to a couple of weeks as they get used to their new home and routine.

What are the risks of letting a puppy cry through the night?

Letting a puppy cry through the night can lead to increased anxiety and stress, negatively impacting their trust and bond with their owner. It may also overlook important needs like hunger, discomfort, or the need for reassurance.

Should I ignore my puppy’s night-time crying to teach independence?

While teaching independence is important, ignoring a puppy’s crying at night is not the best method. Puppies need reassurance and comfort, especially in a new environment. Addressing their needs while gradually teaching them to sleep through the night is more beneficial.

How can I comfort my puppy at night without reinforcing crying?

You can comfort your puppy by establishing a bedtime routine, providing a comfortable sleeping area, and using calming aids like a soft toy. Gradually reduce the amount of attention you give during the night to help them learn that night is for sleeping.

Learn more on this topic

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